New Literacy Coordinator for Tumbler Ridge

Trent Ernst, Editor

Teresa Erickson is Tumbler Ridge’s new literary coordinator.

Having just started in the position, her first job is to get a sense of the scope of what needs to be done. “I’ve been gathering Information from the people in town,” says Erickson. “I’ve been calling around to businesses, schools. I met with Ellen from Senior’s needs.”

Her second biggest concern is to just let people know that Tumbler Ridge has a literary coordinator again. Thus, the purpose of this interview. “I wanted to introduce myself, and let people know we’re back up and running.”

Tumbler Ridge has been without a coordinator for a few months. It was looking like we would be without a coordinator, period, as the organization that manages the program, DEKOOA, was only given about half the funds as last year.

Originally, they planned to use the money to fund programs down south, but shortly after announcing Tumbler Ridge would be without a coordinator, the provincial government was able to restore funding, meaning that Tumbler Ridge is able to have a literary coordinator this year.

Erickson says her focus will be on adult and family literacy. “The previous coordinator was focusing on preschool,” says Erickson, “but that’s pretty well established.” This year, she says, the idea is to work with adults who struggle in various areas of literacy. That means reading and writing, she says, but it also includes numeracy and computer literacy. “When people hear the word literacy, they think reading and writing. But it’s so much more than that. It’s life time learning,” she says. “So we will be helping seniors learn how to use computers, or teaching young people how to balance a chequebook.

“One of our big focuses is literacy in the workplace,” says Erickson. But that’s not proving easy. “A few of the businesses I’ve spoken to, they say that we don’t have an issue here, because it’s more hands-on, but it’s important that people have those basic skills. It might not seem important, because it is a hands-on job, until they have to go and do first aid course and they can’t read enough to do a multiple-choice test.”

Even so, says Erickson, many of the businesses she’s talked to don’t feel that it is important. “Some of the businesses think it’s a waste of time, and if employees need help learning, they should do it on their own time.”

Erickson says that as part of her job, she’s looking for people to help. “We are getting a list together, if anyone is interested in volunteering as a tutor.” People interested in volunteering can contact the library.